CNN In 2002: 'Al Qaeda Leader Is Dead or Alive'

CNN is finally vindicated, sort of. Nearly nine years ago, the network emphatically declared of Osama bin Laden: "Experts Agree: Al Qaeda Leader Is Dead or Alive."

Which would pretty much cover all of the available possibilities. Now we know -- he was alive back then, and he's dead today.

Here's the item from the September 4, 2002 CyberAlert (as written at the time by MRC's Brent Baker) referring to the story from the previous day's "Live From..." newscast:


Which way is it on Osama bin Laden being dead or alive? To CNN, it's both. CNN featured this text in an on-screen graphic on Tuesday afternoon: "Experts Agree: Al Qaeda Leader Is Dead Or Alive." The insight appeared during a story from Pentagon reporter Barbara Starr about the hunt for bin Laden, whether he is dead or alive and how al Qaeda can operate with or without him.

MRC President Brent Bozell noticed the graphic during the story on Live From at about 2:05pm EDT. "Hunt for Bin Laden" read the large subject heading on screen. In smaller type below, "Experts Agree: Al Qaeda Leader Is Dead Or Alive."

After exactly two minutes, when a CNN staffer probably noticed the odd statement, the subhead changed to: "Al Qaeda Leader Out Of Sight For Months."

Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes is the Senior Editor for Newsbusters